Before telling you all about my recent trip to the brush town Kumano, Japan, I thought I'd share how I got into Japanese hand crafted brushes. My earliest make up brush memory from years ago when my Mom brought me a couple of Sephora brushes as a souvenir from her New York trip. I had never seen a kabuki before, those brushes were my treasures. I've always loved art supplies: pens, paper, stationary and brushes. As my passion for make up began in my twenties, using and loving brushes for my face was a natural continuation.
My fude (=brush) journey became about 3 years ago when I grabbed a Eihodo brush set from Odakyu dept. store New Year's sale. It was a poke-y black goat hair powder brush and a soft but floppy squirrel hair brush. I fell in love. I started to binge read beauty blogs for more information, mainly Sonia's blog and SMUT forums.
Later in the Spring I travelled to Hiroshima where a small, hidden calligraphy brush store sold Chikuhodo G-series and a couple of other make up brush lines. I spent hours at the Kumanofude Select Shop by Hiroshima station, browsing their brushes I knew little about. One thing was for sure, there was no going back to Sephora or Sigma brushes.
At the time I was an exchange student and living in Tokyo, where I started to grow my brush collection little by little. Hakuhodo's giant Omotesando store was near an area I visited often, I ordered a couple of Koyudos from online sales and checked if there was any events nearby. Hakuhodo and Koyudo have a limited collection of their brushes sold in department stores, but Chikuhodo is mainly sold in events or pop-up stores. I remember marking one of their events in my calendar weeks in advance, and on the opening day I cycled to Isetan to pet the brushes before school.
I wouldn't call myself a brush collector, I shy away from very expensive rarities my student wallet can't handle. However, I am fascinated by different brands, hairs, handle woods or finishes, and sometimes I'm helpless when it comes to fluffies. I try to choose my brushes according to 'my needs' over 'my wants' and rarely purchase whole sets. I keep no untouchables, I put every fluffy in a good use - no matter how pretty or precious.
How did you first encounter Japanese brushes? I'm curious to know!